A New 'Eat the Rich' Plan Asks You to Unfollow Your Favorite Celebrities and Corporations

Some Americans want to "eat the rich," and now there's a new way to do it. A TikTok trend aims to take a hit at celebrity profits by lowering their follower counts on social media.

TikTok user Gina Bologna asked her followers to unfollow even some Hollywood and corporate names to lessen the elites' giant incomes. Her video was posted Saturday and it's starting to pick up steam. At the time of publishing, over 54,000 people liked the video and nearly 1,000 users made their own videos that showed them unfollowing celebrities—such as billionaire Kylie Jenner—on social media.

"Eat the Rich" isn't a new concept or phrase. In modern times, it questions why celebrities, influencers and huge corporation CEOs hold so much of America's wealth. The phrase is actually from the 18th century usually attributed to Jean-Jacques Rousseau; it's been used in several song titles and a few book titles, but it picked up steam again in 2020 as the COVID pandemic saw net worths of America's elite grow during global turmoil.

Bologna outlined a new plan to reduce the 1 percent's funding. "I know about the stocks, and I know that the rich are freaking out," her video began. "I know that us poor people are like 'this is kind of cool.' You want to freak them out a little more? I used to work in marketing and I know how much people like Kylie Jenner get paid for having the social media account followings that they have. Unfollow them. Unfollow them all."

@iamproudofus

Unfollow all “influencers” watch the cost of products go down. Down. Down. Put your following in small businesses! Give back the power to the people.

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It may seem like a big ask, especially using Jenner as an example. The youngest Kardashian has a whopping 213 million followers and was reportedly earning $1.2 million per sponsored Instagram post in 2019—around the time she was officially declared the world's youngest billionaire. How much of an impact can a handful of internet users make by unfollowing her on their social media accounts?

The answer could be none at all if the message doesn't travel far. Jay Baer, author and founder of Convince & Convert, a digital marketing consultancy, explained to Newsweek. "At the very high end of the influencer marketing pyramid, the audience is large enough that only a sizable drop in overall followers would have an effect on what that influencer can charge for sponsored content," he said, referring to someone like Jenner actually losing income based on lost followers.

Baer suggested it would take Jenner losing about 20 percent of her followers for her, or her marketing team, to actually become concerned about a financial shift. That means over 40 million people would have to unfollow the makeup mogul for the point to really land.

That doesn't necessarily mean Bologna's efforts are in vain.

Last week, the U.S. stock market saw the power of organized rebellion. Reddit users bought shares of the dying, publicly traded company, GameStop, after they noticed hedge funds betting the shares would stay low priced. Through the Reddit purchases, GameStop shares soared and caused hedge funds to buy back their stocks in the company at insanely high prices.

Kendall and Kylie Met Gala
Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner attend the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York City. The younger Jenner, Kylie, has over 213 million followers on Instagram. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images/Getty

The organized attack on hedge funds led Bologna to dream up a new Eat the Rich plan. The reason? She, like millions of others online, sees a huge disconnect between where consumer and governmental money is going and who really needs it.

"This world is lacking balance and harmony, the inequality in this country is greater than it ever has been," Bologna told Newsweek via email. "The media structure has been corporatized, and has not been speaking for the people for quite some time. We deserve to be FREE PEOPLE we do not deserve to be working BELOW LIVING WAGE JOBS to survive."

She expanded on the point of congressional rulings that favor the elite over everyday citizens. "They have undermined us, they have been bought and sold by corporations—it is no longer the PEOPLE'S interests in mind it is CORPORATIONS [sic] interests."

So, to put more power in the hands of the people, Bologna came up with the idea of unfollowing celebrities. "Many influencers become influencers because they are already living lavish lives that they see 'worth envying,' meanwhile there are people without their basic needs being met," she wrote. "How can we rationalize giving celebrities 30k to post a picture of themselves with a product when we can't even feed and house all of our people?!"

Bologna's message isn't to unfollow every celebrity you love, though. She explained it's OK to continue following the accounts that "bring you joy," but explicitly called out Amazon as an example of companies and founders to forgo.

Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, is considered the world's richest person with a net worth of $182 billion in December, according to NPR. "Anyone with exhausting amounts of wealth, and any corporations I believe you should keep at a greater distance," Bologna said of who to unfollow. "For example: We've completely stopped supporting small business and lazily given all of our business to Jeff Bezos. He does not need any more of our time or attention, yet he has a cool 2.7 million followers on Instagram."

Bologna's message has been taken in stride by some on TikTok. Videos showing social media users working through their following list to eliminate some big names, Jenner included, are easy to find. Others joked of the concept and questioned if they had to give up celebrities they love.

One in particular named Seth Rogen as a rich-but-good person and raked in over 40,000 likes in less than 24 hours. It seems to prove Bologna's point is being talked about in the TikTok community, whether or not her viewpoints have made their way to every For You Page.

Whether or not Bologna's idea takes off as an organized act, it seems likely the idea to unfollow rich influencers may just become a trend as the Eat the Rich mentality gains even more attention.

Social media users were quick to subscribe to "cancel culture," an even lesser-organized digital attack on celebrities embroiled in controversy. It happened to TikTok sweetheart Charli D'Amelio in November—the general public took offense to a comment by D'Amelio about her follower count and millions of unfollows resulted in just hours.

It all stands to prove that mass unfollowings are possible with the right momentum. As internet culture continues to evolve, the fate of giant influencers like Jenner may lay solely in the hands of followers…humans who are allowed to see their interests and passions shift. No star shines forever, and the downfall of influencer culture could be on the horizon, be it Eat the Rich motives or simple boredom with intangible, online obsessions.